UGS is making a billion-dollar bet on China’s future engineers.
The vendor of product lifecycle management software is giving away US$1.1 billion worth of its products to 87 universities and colleges in China. Though UGS is set to announce the grants Thursday morning in Beijing, the program actually began last year, spokeswoman Mendi Paschal said.
UGS, in Plano, Texas, sells a set of applications that handles all aspects of developing, building and maintaining manufactured products, Paschal said. Within 10 to 15 years, China will have emerged as a leader in manufacturing innovation, so UGS wants to reach the country’s engineering students and get them started using its products. The schools will use UGS software in classes where engineering students are learning how to develop and build products. About 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students will have direct access to the software.
Despite widespread software piracy in China and concerns by some Western companies about theft of their intellectual property (IP) by Chinese companies, UGS is focusing on the benefits of reaching young engineers, according to Paschal.
“Rather than a risk to IP, we see it as helping to create a generation of graduates,” Paschal said. Meanwhile, the students gain experience with software used in the real world. UGS will give software to schools including Guangdong University of Technology, Nanjing Institute of Technology and Inner Mongolia University.
This isn’t the first time UGS has donated its products to universities, Paschal said. In fact, the company contributes software with a commercial value of about $4 billion per year to schools around the world, she said. The company’s 2005 revenue was $1.15 billion. UGS is also no newcomer to China, competing there against its key global rivals, Dassault Systemes and Parametric Technology. The company has been donating software to schools there since 1997, including some schools that are getting grants under the new initiative.
Major corporations including Samsung, LG, Nissan and Canon already use UGS software in China, according to Paschal. The company is not aware of any significant Chinese competitors today, she said.
-Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)
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